Alex_Schmidt/iStock/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) — A bartender and model is broadening her lawsuit against San Francisco transit police to include an Oakland cop after she says they used excessive force while booking her on St. Patrick’s Day last year and caused her to break at least four bones in her face.
Megan Sheehan acknowledges she was intoxicated and belligerent when she was apprehended at a Bay Area Rapid Transit station, but says officers left her with permanent physical damage after taking her to the nearby jail to charge her.
“I should have never gotten that drunk, but also there are ways to detain someone and not break their face,” she told ABC station KGO-TV.
The dramatic moment was caught on security cameras from inside the Santa Rita jail, as well as body cameras that were being worn by officers near Sheehan, showing how two officers appear to throw her to the ground right after she turned toward one of the officers and told him to stop touching her.
An audible thud can be heard as Sheehan hit the ground, and people standing near are heard gasping. An officer kneeling next to her after she hit the ground can be heard requesting medical help.
According to the lawsuit filed by Sheehan’s attorney last July, she suffered “serious head injuries including but not limited to fracturing four of her cheek bones, splitting her molar, and cracking a front tooth.”
The video shows Sheehan lying unconscious in a pool of blood as people near her, though it is unclear exactly who, say her name to try and get her to respond.
Sheehan, who is now 28 but was 27 at the time of the incident, did not remember anything of what happened on the night of the altercation, and it was only after her attorneys obtained video from inside the police station that they were able to determine how she broke the bones in her face.
“Finally, when we saw this last video we saw that, ‘Oh, she couldn’t put her hands out because they were being held behind her back,'” Liza de Vries, one of Sheehan’s attorneys, told ABC News Monday.
“She’s still recovering mentally from what happened. Physically she’s still having her teeth repaired. Her facial bones have recovered…though she can still feel that they were broken,” de Vries said.
The suit says that she spent two days being treated in a nearby hospital and never faced criminal charges.
De Vries told ABC News that they have an amendment hearing scheduled for the case on May 28 because they have now learned that in addition to a BART police officer there was also an Oakland police officer who was allegedly holding one of Sheehan’s arms behind her back when she was pushed to the ground. As a result, they will ask to have that officer and the Oakland police department added as defendants in the suit.
ABC News’ calls to BART police and the Oakland police department were not immediately returned. They told KGO they would not comment on the case because it is in active litigation, though attorneys for BART have denied liability in earlier court proceedings.
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